My Top 3 Productivity Guides while on Quarantine

Q: What 3 books can you recommend me on productivity during this period of community quarantine?

A: Aside from pertinent religious texts and Brian Tracy’s classic “Time Management” (, the following books are my top 3 productivity guides:

1. Timothy Ferriss’ “The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich” (,

2. Call Newport’s “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World” (, and

3. “Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World” (


Timothy Ferris must be smiling now because as early as 2007 when the book was published, he has been promoting work-at-home arrangement to the employee – and even to the employer – if one is still in the Employee Quadrant in Robert Kiyosaki’s jargon.

Instead of preparing for one’s retirement, the author proposes not to wait for that time but rather do what he calls ‘semi-retirement’ NOW.

Difficult as it may seem, Timothy adopts what he labels ‘lifestyle design’ whose interesting component is the ‘semi-retirement’. And this he does by following his blueprint DEAL (Definition, Elimination, Automation, Liberation). That’s why his is a smart 4-HOUR WORKWEEK, instead of our typical 40-hour workweek.


A computer scientist and author himself, Cal Newport – in this book – shares a clever mindset and practical steps to allocate time for ‘deep work’ in an environment of too many online and offline distractions. By ‘deep work’ he means “professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit, and which create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate”.

‘Deep work’ is in contrast to ‘shallow work’ which Cal defines as “non-cognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted, and tend not to create much new value in the world and are easy to replicate.  


As the idea brought by ‘Deep Work’ that unbroken concentration produces far more value than the electronic busyness that defines the modern work day was gaining momentum, Cal addresses in his next book ‘Digital Minimalism’ the readers’ follow up question: “What about technology in our personal lives?”

In ‘Digital Minimalism,’ Cal puts forth a bold proposal: a minimalist approach to technology use while focusing on a small set of carefully-selected activities while happily ignoring the rest. Citing historical examples and case studies of modern digital minimalists, the author argues that this philosophy isn’t a rejection of technology, but instead a necessary realignment to ensure that these tools serve us, not the other way around.

What I really like in ‘Digital Minimalism’ is Cal’s emphasis on the importance of ‘solitude’ which the glowing screens in our hands are regrettably depriving us of.

#productivity #muslimproductivity #briantracy #timemanagement #timothyferriss #4hourworkweek #semiretirement #calnewport #deepwork #digitalminimalism

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